Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There: A Manifesto for Living the Slow Life by Wallace Chapman, Penguin, ISBN 9780143568827, RRP $30, Available now.
I am a firm believer in the power of doing nothing and doing it preferably whilst asleep, so I was very keen to read the new book Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There by sometime student radio DJ, political show TV presenter and general well-meaning* and intelligent good guy Wallace Chapman.
In the tradition of two of my favourite books, How to be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson and Change Your Life Without Getting Out of Bed by Sark, Chapman explores the idea of slow and simple living.
And overall he does a great job, covering technology, working, food, sex and health amongst many other topics.
Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There is an enjoyable read and has some interesting bits of information and equally interesting and user-friendly tips on how to slow down and enjoy the world a bit more. Chapman divulges a lot of genuine detail from his own journey in life, from dealing with serious illness to taking the leap into a career you really love.
It also, however, suffers from a teeny bit of quiet pretension and privilege (the cover photo? taken at Clooney in Auckland, because nothing says “downshift your career” like a restaurant that charges $36 for an entree). But, you know, stuff it, the leather couch does look rather comfy.
Really, it’s important to have books like this. Our world is about constant movement, and it’s too easy to forget to ground yourself in what is real and true. The madness of money leads to the sort of ridiculous carry-on we see time and time again, around the world.
Having said that though, it’s always good to have a reminder that history is an endless cycle.
In fact, there is a direct equivalent to the torrent of information one could source off the net. That came in 1453 with the advent of the printing press… In the late 1500s the Dutch humanist Erasmus wrote that printers ‘fill the world with pamphlets and books that are foolish, ignorant, malignant, libellous, mad, impious and subversive; and such is the flood that even things that might have done some good lose all their goodness’.
I don’t know what he’s talking about.
*This was meant to sound a lot more complimentary than it does.